Mum says buying reduced food items in the supermarket has slashed her bills in half
A savvy mum has slashed her monthly bills by £750 largely by snapping up discounted food items in the supermarket – known as 'yellow sticker shopping'.
Emily Harris, 35, has reduced her monthly bills – excluding rent – from £1,090 to £340.
The care assistant changed her life by also ditching phone contracts and switching electric providers.
Initially, Harris began cutting costs when she found herself in £8,000 debt in 2017.
She started with yellow sticker shopping to reduce her food bill from £560 per month to £240.
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“I used to put my nose up at the reduced section but now I am completely hooked," she says.
“I plan my meals around yellow sticker meats which are stored in the freezer until used.
“On a Sunday morning, I can get meat for as little as 80p for the Co-Op.
“The earlier you go to Tesco the better and Aldi’s reduced isn’t the best but I do my tin shopping there as they are cheap.
“I used to spend £140 per week on food but now I spend £60 to feed my family of five.
“It’s not east feeding a big family on a small budget but it is doable.
“I’ve found pasta dishes are most cost-effective and can make a tortellini dish with minced meat for as little as £3.90.
“Once a month, I use anything left on the shelves and in the freezer to make meals for a week to make sure we have zero waste.”
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The mum-of-three from Pembrokeshire, Wales, also switched energy providers making huge savings.
“My electric and gas bill used to be £220 per month because I was care-free and would keep the TV and lights on at night," she says.
"My bills were sky-high because I was completely oblivious to how much energy and gas I was using until I needed to make some changes to my outgoings.
“I switched energy providers and asked for a metre so I could monitor how much we are spending.
“We now spend £3 per day on electric and £5 on laundry days so no more than £90 to £100 per month.”
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Within two years, Harris was debt-free and she is now sharing her top tips to help others.
Harris used to pay £160 per month for Sky TV and a landline but now she pays £34 for an Amazon Fire Stick.
She also ditched the house phone and swapped to a sim only card deal for £7.50 per month.
“I didn’t want the kids to miss out on their favourite shows or for our lifestyles to change finding more ways to save money such as cash-back apps," she says.
“I used to spend £40 per month on my phone bill but now I pay less than £10 as I purchased an Honour 10 phone for £130.
She has also stopped buying from high street stores and started buying second hand clobber using the app Vinted.
“I would much rather give an individual £10 rather than a big brand," she says. “I also sell my clothes on the app which is handy. I’ve also stopped going to salons for beauty treatments such as nails and waxes.
“Instead, I paint my own nails and I purchased a wax machine for £30.”
Harris’s money-saving ways meant she was able to clear £8000 worth of debt in two years.
She now happily lives debt-free and hopes her tips can help others.
She adds: “Everything I do now revolves around cutting the cost. All of my ways have definitely helped during these difficult times.
“Keeping my freezer well stocked with reduced meat has been a saver with the lack of food in stores recently.
"I have learnt how to fill our stomachs on a budget and I’m even savvy when it comes to activities with the kids. I always go to small local businesses like farms or sign up to attractions newsletters to get a percentage off the first trip.”
Additional reporting by Caters